Review issue - terrible review by guest, bordering on slander

Hello fellow hosts, A recent guest left a review that included many misrepresentations and outright lies. While we expected a less than stellar review [because a few weeks into her 7 week stay, we challenged her on having misrepresented her plans for her stay], we were quite taken aback at the level of her negativity and misrepresentation and lies in the review. We allowed the 14 day window to review her to expire. As much as we’d like to “set the record straight” from our point of view, we’re thinking the best thing is to just not respond to her review. Every other review we have (8 others so far) has been nearly 100% positive, in the stars rating and in words. So we’re thinking (hoping at least) that future potential guests will see that this one person amongst all the others who are very positive, this one person had a bad time and must have a ‘thorn in deep in her foot’ and is simply a negative and mean-spirited person. I’m not sure if it’s protocol / a good idea to post here her review so you all can see specifically what I’m referring to. We will contact Airbnb and ask what the suggest. Thank you for whatever thoughts you might have.

Lots of people here will tell you not to reply, but personally I would. You need to correct the outright lies. Just make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t come across childish/immature, sarcastic etc. You need to come across as the reasonable one.

Dont feel you have to post the review here, but it might help people make suggestions for a response if you’d like some


We’d love to see it! You can omit her name if you like. I’m with GardenHost. Please write a well thought out, simple, matter-of-fact response.

I’d reply too; and yes I would be in a minority of hosts that would do so. As long as your reply is well thought out and reasoned it shouldn’t do any damage; feel free to run a draft past people on here.

Since you did not review her, are you sure you can even leave a response to her review?

I’m not even going to ask why in the world you did not leave her a review. This was the woman you posted about who lied in order to get you to waive the extra person fee and just kept pushing to take advantage of you?

Unless you post the review it is difficult to tell you whether or not potential guests will believe her or not. There have been many stories of a negative review putting bookings to a halt. It’s easy to say not to respond to a review when you have a bunch of Air bookings in the pipeline and it can be buried.


To get a good grasp of the situation, I think we need to read the review. There are some very talented people on here that can help you reply, if still possible.

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I’m generally not one to respond but only do it in the most dire circumstances. In fact I just did one. I referred to the guest in the third person, told what happened from my perspective and how I tried to help her, and then stated for the record, this guest was refunded and reimbursed. I think it made her look bad for leaving me a crap review after we tried to remedy the situation.

It’s hard for us to help you with it if you don’t give us the review to work with.

I went back to read about the guest who mis-represented her stay for a discount. Despite our advice here you didn’t leave her a review or come back to the forum to get advice about a review before the review period ended.

I’m going to be frank…it’s very hard to help after the damage has been done. It’s as if our first round of posts to you went right over your head. You admitted you are on a steep learning curve but here we are again.

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You should reply, but I strongly suggest that you write up a draft and consult with the good people here. Don’t do this hastily. To be honest and I say this from a place of “stranger on the internet” love, your posts are pretty, um, garrulous. You’re going to need to be direct, succinct, and tone is going to be crucial. I’ve seen folks here work wonders on copy. Don’t F this up.

Take a leaf from Congressman Sandy Levin’s book, when deciding whether to support the Iran deal: “In my view, the only anchors in public life are to dig deeply into the facts and consult broadly and then to say what you believe.”

It’s not public life, but good advice for any life :slight_smile:

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I never responded to a review (92 so far, all nice) but I would respond to a bad one.

Not to argue with the guest itself rather than seeing it as a chance to manage future guests and to extinguish lies. Being factual, calm and guest orientated.

If it’s as bad as you say @npjulie, I would definitely respond particularly as you have so few reviews and this will hurt you unless you set the record straight. As others have said, it’s impossible to give specific advice unless you provide details - you don’t have to post the entire review but it would help if you gave some examples of what you consider to be lies and misrepresentation.

There are lots of articles on the best way to respond to a bad review but there was only one that I thought was well-written and helpful. Unfortunately I can’t find it :(. The key points, though, are:

  1. WAIT at least 48 hours before responding so you don’t say something in the heat of the moment.

  2. Remember that the response must be for the benefit of FUTURE GUESTS. You want to sound calm and reasonable and reassuring to potential guests who will be reading it. Who cares what the complaining guest thinks. It’s your future guests that matter.

  3. Keep it short, factual, polite and professional. A rant will make you like the bad one at best, unhinged at worst.

  4. Say sorry, even if it’s just 'I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy your stay".

  5. Acknowledge any accurate or legitimate complaints and state what you’ve done to rectify or honestly state that’s how it is and you will ensure that this issue is made clearer in the description.

  6. Ignore any ridiculous stuff. Hard as it may be, just IGNORE IT. Sensible people (the kind of guests you want) will recognise when a bad review is at odds with other reviews. Your refusal to be drawn in to the crazy stuff will demonstrate your professional and calm approach and highlight the guest’s unreasonableness.


If they waited the 14 days, I don’t think they can leave a response anymore. Am I wrong?

Yes, I believe you’re right. Is there a roll-eyes smiley on here? It seems not so this will have to do :persevere:

You have 14 days from the date a review was posted to write a response.

Ah, so there is still hope!

@Magwitch makes a very good point about addressing the response to future guests. In fact, your guest won’t even know you’ve responded unless they specifically keep checking back. Airbnb doesn’t send any kind of notification alerting them

I can still leave a public reply to their review. I just can’t leave a
review after the 14 days.

Julie Anderson ARNP
206 760-9266

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@npjulie I don’t think you meant to reply with your personal information attached.

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Thanks for the link @EllenN. So many details to remember!

Here is an amusing example for you folks of the exact wrong way to reply to a review. A friend of mine stayed with this host. The first review you can see with the crazy reply is the tenth one down.